Cardinal Franz Koenig: “The Vatican’s Kissinger”

Cardinal Franz Koenig: “The Vatican’s Kissinger”

     (Man in the centre – Mr. ‘fix it’)

The death in March 2004 in Austria, of the ninety-six-year-old cardinal Franz Koenig (King) and former archbishop of Vienna, does offer some fruitful examination of his special role in the direction and destiny that the Roman Catholic church has journeyed in the past forty plus years.

It was, however, at the conception and inauguration of the Second Vatican Council that opened in Rome on 11th October 1962, by John XXIII, when he would declare rather mystically, that the ashes of “St.” Peter was thrilling in ‘mystic exaltation’ because of the council.

On that solemn occasion, assorted theological groupings began to show their true colours, and stake their own theological positions; this would be witnessed later in the forthcoming debates.

Poised in the right-hand corner of the assembly, were the traditionalists, then very much steeped in the old Catholic faith, and with the then pontiff’s promise, that, “Our greatest concern is that the sacred deposit of Catholic doctrine should be guarded.”

Then, after hearing those comforting words they could now relax. Nothing to worry about. Or so they thought! However, later on, the ailing pope departed from the written script, when he remarked, “We live to advance. We must evermore move forward. The Christian (not Catholic) life is not a collection of ancient customs.” Later this pope’s handpicked successor, Paul VI, would do all he could to promote a working alliance between communists and popular atheistic philosophers. Such radicals as Jacques Maritain and other marxist revolutionaries would be quoted, and referred to with great authority. The dye was set and its colour was RED.

Limbering up in the bright left hand corner, were the so-called modernists, or reformers, and their star it seems, was in the ascent. They could be seen to gaze upon the leaderless traditionalists with a deep distaste. For, to these gifted European “assassins,” much of the present churches existing doctrine would be skilfully amputated, or at least watered down. Their moment it seemed had now arrived. The “barque” of Peter was now in their slippery hands. From now on they would chart and navigate its spiritual course and decide its ultimate destination in the choppy sea of church politics.

Leading this ecclesiastical make up, were a troika of charismatic cardinals. They were Suenens, Lienart, and Alfrink (all European.) In the lower ranks, were the ‘shock troop’ theologians. Men such as Yves Conger, the Dutchman, the Dominican Schillebeeckx, who would claim that Christianity would one day ‘surrender to atheism’ and the marxist Dominique Chenu. Later, the German Jesuit, Karl Rahner, once considered too extreme in select church circles, would be encouraged by Paul VI to “forge ahead.”

Now these chosen men, with an open contempt for the past, would be given deadly ammunition to criticise and condemn. Not once would they be reprimanded. After all, how could they be, now that they enjoyed the ecclesiastical support of such men as cardinal Lienart of Lille. It was once rumoured of him, “That his ideas were redder than his clerical robes.” Many were shocked when shortly before his death he exclaimed, “Humanly speaking, the church is dead.”

Into this fold of distinguished churchmen, entered another European, cardinal Franz Koenig. With his gift of being able to speak five languages, as well as being fluent in Latin, and holding a fellowship in sociology at Lille university, (this slim man with a considerable presence) would happily place himself firmly into the liberal wing of the ongoing council.

Later at its close in 1965, Paul would appoint him as head of the secretariat for non-believers (or atheists.) This would and did allow him to make many authorized visits behind the then, dangerous Iron Curtain. Always of course on “church business.”

One such historical journey undertaken by Koenig was at the personal request of the pope, to visit the defiant and indomitable cardinal Mindzenty, then domiciled in the American embassy in Budapest (15 years in fact.) Later the ageing cardinal would go on to hold the record of being the longest serving refugee-seeking asylum in any foreign embassy.) Mindzenty had taken sanctuary there, after spending a decade in soviet prisons.

In Memoirs, Mindzenty claimed bitterly that he had felt betrayed many times by the Vatican Curia. He was, he felt, a victim of Osterpolitik (this was the churches desired attempt to reach accommodations with marxist regimes then dominating Eastern Europe.) At that time it was being spearheaded, by the then Secretary of State, cardinal Cassorolli, who then boasted the sobriquet “the Vatican’s Kissinger.”

From its inception at the council, the German bishops had been very active behind the scenes in the papal chambers selecting advisors, setting the agendas, massaging the procedures and packing the assorted commissions with their own handpicked, dedicated clerics. Interestingly enough Germany has long been the European centre for the occult. The Illuminati saw its beginnings in Bavaria, with its founder Adam Weishaupt, (a suggested Jesuit himself), using many subversive means to bring about the total destruction of Western Christian Society and to eventually bring in the “One World Government.” They wrote about “The Bearer of the Light,” i.e. Lucifer. Today they still are very active in government, the media, and of course important financial circles.

Now a planned hidden agenda could be properly unleashed upon the unsuspecting church laity. Strange symbols that once identified the occult, and the Illuminati, such as the all “seeing eye” placed within an Egyptian pyramid (see the back of a one dollar bill), started to appear.

Even today the “all seeing eye” can clearly be seen above the high altar of the Catholic church in Nazareth. (I saw it myself.)

All of these grotesque signs that had once been the identifying talisman of pre-Christian cults now began to be seen frequently. They even ‘overlooked the crowds’ who gathered for the Philadelphia Eucharistic Congress in 1976. The eye would be taken up by the Jesuits who edited the societies yearbook, and it appeared on a series of Vatican stamps issued in 1978.

The one-eyed specimen can be identified as “the eye of Lucifer,” “the morning star,” or “the eternal watcher of the world” and the human scene. It is not the eye of the Biblical God.

But was this all part of a planned fifth column attack upon the existing church of the mid-sixties?

Certainly, the much-respected bishop of Dakar, himself an active participant of the council, would later claim that it had all been “organised by a mastermind.” In hindsight, I wonder whom he was referring to?

And what of the chilling words written as an epilogue to the deceased pope by the “sovereign grand master” (don’t they love their titles) Charles Riandey:

“This pope John XXIII who has deigned to give us his benediction, his understanding and his protection.”

Later he would write in a commemorative book preface:

“To his august continuer, his holiness, pope Paul VI.”

It has to be asked why would a leading freemason be asked to offer such a personal tribute to the leader of a church that had traditionally forbidden membership to all secret societies?  

Had not five popes through canon law 2335 declared, that any Catholic who sought membership to such societies be excommunicated, ipso facto!

Didn’t a powerful warning come from the second longest serving pontiff Leo XIII who spoke of secret societies trying:

“To destroy from top to bottom the whole religious and social discipline born of Christian institutions.”

What was going on?

What would pope Leo have made of the shocking disclosures that were exposed in 1976 in the magazine Borghese namely that 125 prelates were active members of Italian masonic lodges? The article on publication further prompted the Superior General of the Jesuits to warn all who cared to listen:

“That a fifth column exists within the clergy and is steadily working in favour of atheism.” Was he right in this serious charge?

Certainly, the author and former Jesuit priest Malachi Martin seemed convinced that the existing Catholic church, that he had served for so long, had been subverted and penetrated by masons and Satanists! He even alluded to a horrific “black mass” being performed in a closed Vatican chapel in the mid-1960s!

The sudden death in 1978 of pope John Paul I, did little to change the prepared route by which the church was being taken.

His mysterious death still raises many unanswered questions. (No autopsy was ever allowed by the then Secretary of State cardinal Jean Villot.) It was claimed of Villot in Borghese that he came from a family which has produced over two hundred years, from father to son, grand masters of secret societies including the Rosicrucians.

Now the so-called “Throne of Peter” was vacant. And who, it was asked, should replace the popular sweet smiling pope of a mere 33 days? (Please note that masons have 33 degrees in their secret religion.)

Predictably Koenig would enter into pre-conclave talks in the year of three popes, and suggest something amazing to the cardinals arriving in Rome for the funeral of one pope and election of another. Why should not the next pope come from outside of Italy? He further suggested a suitable name that might be found acceptable. That name would be cardinal Wojtyla from the Polish city of Cracow. Koenig had been very impressed by ‘his intelligence and charm as well as his political pragmatism.’ And the age of 58, it was also a further bonus to his promising chances of staking his place to the papal throne. Supporting his name would be the predictable arch-liberals of the “Sacred College of Cardinals.” Yet the Catholic mainstream was confessing some serious doubts about this Polish candidate.

This led the veteran American journalist and well known Vatican watcher, Avro Manhattan, to comment to his many readers that:

“The inevitable result will be that thanks to the greatest number of leftist clerics, the election of a red pope is becoming more likely.”

And in a leading French journal Didasco of April 1979, the editor was convinced:

“That a cardinal from behind the Iron Curtain can be anything but a communist plant.”

But the clergy was also cautious of this Polish cardinal’s chances. The distinguished voice heard after the election, came from the Abbe de Nantes, leader of the Catholic counter-reformation grouping who declared quite simply:

“We have a communist pope!”

Whether this statement can ever be proved is doubtful, but certainly, other members of the Catholic Polish hierarchy of bishops did have doubts about one of their own.

Later this first non-Italian pope for 455 years would use his instincts and papal authority to promote interfaith worship, be photographed kissing the Koran, and at a special papal Mass in Israel under an inverted cross! Also accompanying him on his endless world tours, would be the hideous broken cross, showing the distorted figure of Christ, used in the middle ages to represent the Biblical term ‘mark of the beast.’ Few Catholics are aware that Paul VI introduced this into the papal arena.

How much of this was part of the future papal agenda, written by Koenig and others, who cast their ballots for him in 1978, can only be guessed at.

Certainly, it must have been a personal victory for Koenig when his man was presented to the world from the balcony of St. Peters on October 16th.


Was the popular cardinal from Austria, the Vatican’s chosen nominated Kissinger? Certainly, that dubious title has been at times bestowed upon him.

In retrospect, however, Koenig certainly moved easily in that shadowy political world with the comfort of a skilled diplomat. And always with impeccable Vatican credentials, secure in his Moroccan leather briefcase. For him, it seemed all governmental doors, hostile or not, would somehow open on well-oiled hinges.

But hadn’t this once papal candidate (who had amazingly collected eight secure votes in the first round of the ballot that elected the sickly cardinal from Venice as pope), been prepared for this future role? Had he not always been destined for significant things from that day long ago when he had been born on a small farm in the foothills of the beautiful Austrian Alps. I rather think he had. And I think he knew it as well.


Some years ago I wrote to Koenig asking for his clerical assistance. It was for an article I was drafting concerning the Otto Preminger film The Cardinal.

The last hour of the film was set in pre-war Vienna with much of the dramatic filming happening in and around the spacious precinct of St. Stephens Cathedral. In the promotional trailer released before the premiere of the film, Koenig is credited:

“Graciously gave his permission for the filming within the Cathedral.” Not an event I suspect that happens every day in his lifetime or within the imposing interiors of the Cathedral.

Could he share, I asked, a few lines and memories of the filming? Did he know the film’s director, himself born in Vienna? And what of the interior and exterior scenes graphically showing the storming by frenzied Hitler youth into Innitzers private apartments?

Sadly I never did receive an answer from Vienna. But then perhaps, just maybe, the energetic cardinal was away from Austria on important “church business” maybe brokering and fixing a new agreement for the church he would serve so loyally for most of his long eventful life (ninety-six years!)

Maybe, after all, he was “the Vatican’s Kissinger.” A title I am sure he would have rejoiced in.



August 2004

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